Since it’s winter, my school’s art teacher and I discussed making snowmen with my students this week. I know it doesn’t actually snow in San Francisco, and the fact that there aren’t four traditional seasons is actually one of my reservations about staying in this city, but kids learn about winter and associate it with snow anyway.

In our snowman project, students ripped white paper and then glued them in an overlapping fashion to create unique snowmen. I loved this project because even though all the students were given the exact same template and supplies, each of their snowmen turned out to be as unique as they are. Plus, it’s like the one time all school year they’re allowed to rip paper!

Lots of white paper to glue!

More white paper to glue!

Gluing snowmen body parts

Final products!

{harbin} dinosaur bone

January 18, 2017


JiaYin is a town near the Russian border, 8-9 hour drive from Harbin.


Dinosaur fossils, duck-billed dinosaurs and other species, were first discovered there in 1902, by Russian paleontologists. Unfortunately, most of the fossils were removed and taken to Russia.


The Park also claims to be the only museum where a real dinosaur bone is accessible to the general public. The sign says touch dinosaur (dragon) bone for good (dragon) luck.


Here is for that good dragon luck.


My family recently went on a mini family vacation. Granted it was only a one-night event, but still we got some good eats in during our time together. One of these good eats providers was Elmer’s Restaurant in Palm Springs. Elmer’s actually a smaller chain that originated from the Pacific Northwest, so they focus a lot of their menu items on ingredients from that area like Dungeness Crab. Most importantly though, is that despite being set up kind of like an iHop or Denny’s, Elmer’s has amazing Dutch Babies. What are Dutch Babies? Dutch Babies (or German Pancakes) are giant sweet popovers. The traditional “flavor” comes with powdered sugar, butter, and lemon wedges. My sisters and I also tried the Apple and Cherry Strudel German Pancake, which was absolutely amazing. Yum!!!

Dungeness Crab Benedict

Crabacado Omelet

Country Cousins Skillet

Classic German Pancake

Apple and Cheery Strudel German Pancake

Monaco is one of those tiny places in the world that you can totally explore in one day and then say that you’ve been to an entire other country. It’s also one of those strange places where you wonder how this place even exists. I mean, why is there a country (or technically, city state, I guess) that’s smaller than a normal city? What is the point? What is the point of such a tiny country where an elementary school student can count all their citizens? Especially when it’s such a tiny country that’s known for ritz and glitz.

Anyway, despite all these glaring questions, I was able to go to Monaco for a mere day and feel pretty comfortable in saying that I’ve explored Grace Kelly’s place. It amazes me that such a tiny place has its own monarchy, but, hey, it makes it all the more interesting when you visit, because you could literally see the royal family! Of course, there’s also the very famous Monte Carlo Casino, which I visited, but was slightly underwhelmed probably because I’m used to the modern grandeur of Las Vegas.

Personally, I think the drive along the Three Corniches in the French Riviera that connect Nice (France) to Monaco (also where Grace Kelly died) are all the more breathtaking than the tiny offerings of Monaco itself.

A tiny city-state photo adventure: